Johnson & Johnson and NBC Olympics Partner to Share the Stories of U.S. Olympic Hopefuls and Their Journey’s to Beijing With The Family Room
Weekly Webisodes Produced by NBC Available on www.iVillage.com familyroom Program Showcases Eight U.S. Hopefuls Including the Hamm Brothers, Chellsie Memmel and Lauryn Williams; Viewers Introduced to Families Behind Athletes’ Olympic Dreams
New York, NY .– Johnson & Johnson, NBC Olympics and iVillage today launched The Family Room presented by Johnson & Johnson, a multimedia experience which over the next five months will follow the journey of eight athletes and their families as they prepare to qualify for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, which begin August 8. The centerpiece of The Family Room site is a series of weekly webisodes offering viewers a compelling glimpse into the lives of Olympic hopefuls through both their own personal perspectives and those of the families surrounding and supporting them. The Family Room can be viewed at www.iVillage.com/familyroom.
The Family Room focuses on Tina Ellertson (Soccer); twin brothers Paul & Morgan Hamm (Gymnastics); Reese Hoffa (Track & Field); Chellsie Memmel (Gymnastics); siblings Steve & Katie Mocco (Wrestling & Judo); and Lauryn Williams (Track & Field).
The premier webisode on March 2 introduces viewers to the unique family dynamics of the athletes featured in The Family Room while subsequent segments appearing every Sunday will feature a specific U.S. Olympic hopeful until the Olympic Games in Beijing. The five-to-seven-minute documentary-style shorts will include footage and interviews captured by NBC Olympics as well as compelling footage from the athletes and their families via handheld cameras.
In addition to the webisodes, The Family Room will feature a wealth of digital content through which the athletes, their families, and communities at home connect online:
* Profile pages on the iVillage Connect social networking platform that will feature blogs and personal photos from each athlete
* The Raising Future Champions community forum, where users can share their personal stories about memorable sports moments in their children’s lives.
* A Share Your Shout Out graffiti wall, where visitors can express their U.S. team pride and support by typing in words of encouragement.
The Family Room will also feature information about products from the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies and numerous links to NBCOlympics.com’s complimentary coverage of the eight highlighted athletes, including how the athletes are faring in pre-Olympic competitions, news about their international rivals, previews of their events in Beijing, expert blogs, and robust photo and video galleries.
Throughout the duration of the program, viewers can expect to see vignettes and promos for The Family Room across numerous NBC Universal platforms, including Early Today, Today, MSNBC, USA Network, iVillage and various NBC affiliates across the country.
Viewers will follow these compelling storylines in The Family Room:
* Tina Ellertson (Soccer) -- When an unplanned pregnancy at age 18 threatened her collegiate soccer career, Tina postponed school and gave birth to daughter MacKenzie. Now, at age 26, she’s a defender on the U.S. Soccer Team, is married to MacKenzie’s dad and is currently expecting their second child. Now Tina attempts to ready herself physically and emotionally for the chance to finally have her Olympic moment just months after giving birth.
* Paul & Morgan Hamm (Gymnastics) -- Paul is arguably the best male gymnast the United States has ever produced, having been crowned the 2004 all-around Olympic champion. His twin brother Morgan has found success as a role player on both the Sydney and Athens Olympic Teams. After a lengthy hiatus from the sport, both brothers now aim to make their third Olympic team.
* Reese Hoffa (Track & Field) -- As a four-year-old, Reese was sent to live at an orphanage by his troubled teenage mother after he accidentally burned down his family’s home. In 2000, after being raised by a nurturing adoptive family, he reunited with his birth mother through an online search. Now, Reese, the current world champion in the shot put, is proud of his strong relationships with both his “A-Mom” (adoptive mother) and “B-Mom” (birth mother) and looks to his non-traditional family for the support to fulfill his Olympic dream.
* Chellsie Memmel (Gymnastics) -- After serving as an alternate on the 2004 Athens team, Chellsie returned to the gymnastics coach that she left at age seven -- her father, Andy. The father-daughter partnership seemed to be a perfect fit as she went on to the win the 2005 all-round world championship, but suffered a setback as Chellsie underwent shoulder surgery. The ultimate test now is whether or not she can hold up among a world of teenage challengers in her last chance to make the team.
* Steve & Katie Mocco (Wrestling and Judo) -- When the Mocco’s father enrolled young Steve in judo to supplement his wrestling, little sister Katie always tagged along. Soon after, Katie’s own passion for judo became clear. Now both Moccos continue to support one another as they train in different parts of the country with the same goal of reaching Beijing.
* Lauryn Williams (Track & Field) -- When Lauryn won a silver medal in the 100 meters in Athens, she was thankful that her father was both physically and financially able to make the trip. After years of battling leukemia and kidney failure, her father David, who had driven her from track to track as a child, was healthy enough to travel to Greece and was able to watch her run on the world stage because of the generosity of an anonymous donor-turned-friend that made his trip to Athens possible. Lauryn now focuses on the goal of winning Olympic gold while continuing to deal with her father’s illness.
“As a partner of the Olympic Movement, Johnson & Johnson is proud to deliver a unique perspective on the excitement and emotion that make up an athlete’s journey to the Olympic Games,” said Owen Rankin, Vice President, Corporate Equity and Olympic Sponsorship, Johnson & Johnson. “We understand that behind every Olympian who competes in Beijing there is a caring family that helped get him or her there. We’re proud to celebrate that through The Family Room.”
“At the Olympics, we are storytellers, first and foremost. Our top priority is to introduce our viewers to the compelling stories of Olympic athletes and their path to the Games,” said David Neal, Executive Producer, NBC Sports. “We’re delighted to have this opportunity to showcase the journeys of this terrific group of athletes as they prepare for Beijing, and to highlight the family dynamic that makes each of their stories unique. The Family Room project will create a strong connection for our viewers with these athletes leading up to the Beijing Olympics.”
The Family Room will be supported by brands from the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies: BAND-AID® Brand Adhesive Bandages, NEOSPORIN® , LISTERINE® , NEUTROGENA® , TYLENOL® and ZYRTEC®.
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